Service testing crib post

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try{harder} Level Up

March 19th-23rd: try{harder} Level Up is a conference with a difference:

5 days, 4 nights.
8 try{harder} mentors who took part in the original try{harder} and want to share it with…
8 new try{harder} participants who want to level-up.
Everybody teaches, everybody learns.

Code as game design: fun++; frustration- -;

When you build an application or utility you are shaping a challenge for all the developers who ever interact with this code. For the rest of your team, for the future developers who maintain and extend the codebase, and for yourself – today, tomorrow, two years from now when you have no recollection of the code.

The challenge is akin to playing a game – and many of the rules of good game design apply just as well to your code base as the product of your compiled application.

A golden rule: ‘Guess what I’m thinking’ is not a fun game

But it is! I can hear some of you shouting. What about 20 Questions! What about ISpy! Yes, ok, they can be fun, given certain conditions: ISpy requires a small enough possibility space. It’s more fun in a car than a supermarket. 20 Questions (a beautiful binary search of the whole universe!) relies upon having an agent that can accurately tell you which pile of hay your needle resides in.

Without those constraints, ‘Guess what I’m thinking’ is just frustrating.

Order of operations, default behaviours and your brain

I’m a creature of habit. I form strong habits very quickly. My wife and step-son joke that if I do something 3 days in a row I may well wind up doing it daily for the rest of my life.

This has pros and cons.

The cons are the obvious ones: some habits are not so good to have. I have had most of them!

The pro is that making good habits is useful.

In programming, habits are my default behaviours – my normal-for-me practices. We all have them – and, just like lifestyle habits, there are good ones and not-so-good ones. Ones we adopt mindfully and ones we just kinda slipped into. And we don’t really like it when people point out our bitten nails.

try { harder } – a collaborative flash-dev conf.

What? Another flash-platform conference?

Yup – but this is different kind of conference, a collaborative conference.

To skip my ramblings about why we’re setting it up the way we are, just jump straight to the try { harder } site: